NASHVILLE — The miraculous story of Tennessee Baptist pastor Zach Lloyd was highlighted during the North American Mission Board’s Send Luncheon on June 14 prior to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Lloyd, pastor of East LaFollette Baptist Church, LaFollette, nearly died from complications caused by COVID-19. He contracted the disease in October and spent nearly seven months in the hospital and had to undergo a double lung transplant. See stories in the Baptist and Reflector HERE and HERE.
Lloyd, who worked at Lowe’s and pastored Lafollette Baptist Church, had to undergo serious medical treatment to keep him alive before he received a double lung transplant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Sam Greer, pastor of Red Bank, led his church to help the Lloyd family cover the cost of their mortgage payment for several months.
Before introducing Lloyd to the stage, NAMB president Kevin Ezell and Tennessee Baptist Mission Board executive director Randy Davis spoke with Greer, who said that he wanted to rally his people during the pandemic season to be the church for a fellow pastor and church in need. Davis pointed them to Lloyd.
“Great kingdom work cannot be done without relationships like this,” Davis said of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board family that enabled these believers to love one another. “It’s all about relationships.”
Lloyd then came out on the stage, where he was surprised by the Vanderbilt medical team who cared for him while he was in the hospital for nine months. They shared how Lloyd had impacted them while he was a patient.
When Ezell asked the medical team to give Lloyd an update on his medical bills, they answered: “Paid in full.”
But the surprises didn’t stop there for Lloyd and his family. Davis, on behalf of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board and Send Relief, presented Lloyd with a check to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Just then, Mark Richt, former University of Georgia football coach and national spokesman for Send Relief, threw a red challenge flag as if he was still on the sidelines of a football field and playfully recommended that Southern Baptists could do even better than that.
Because of the thousands of miles on the family car put on by Lloyd’s wife Sara’s countless drives back and forth to the hospital, Ezell told Lloyd he could trade that car for a new one free of charge at their local GMC dealership. Then, Ezell asked Lloyd about his favorite baseball team, and Lloyd shared that it was the Atlanta Braves.
Jim Allen, a vice president with the Atlanta Braves, announced in a video that they would host Lloyd and his family for a Braves game where he could watch from on the field during team batting practice.
Through tears, Lloyd described how much he loved his church family, who prayed for him every Saturday morning for months.
“I’m so grateful for my church family. I’ve been there 17 years. I was there as a youth pastor, and God made a way for us to become pastor there,” Lloyd said. “I love them so much. They’re family. That’s something we really try to promote is family, and I love them. They’ve been so supportive of me.” B&R — This report was written by Brandon Elrod of the North American Mission Board, and included reporting by B&R editor Lonnie Wilkey.